After finishing as runner-up the past two years, Oswaldo Lopez finally won the Badwater Ultramarathon yesterday. Photo:

He had finished second the past two years.

Oswaldo Lopez of Madera, California won one of the world’s most challenging races: The Badwater Ultramarathon. His finishing time for the 135-mile race was 23 hours, 41 minutes, 40 seconds. Lopez, 39 years old, was a full hour ahead of second-place finisher Ryoichi Sekiya of Japan, who crossed the line in 24:49:37.

The victory was especially sweet for Lopez, the runner up for the past two years. His previous best time was 25:05:38.

Badwater is considered to be the world’s toughest ultra. It is held every July in some of the most difficult terrain and conditions on earth. The race starts in Badwater in Death Valley, which is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (282 feet below sea level). The course then ends 135 miles later at a elevation of 8360 feet at the base of Mount Whitney.

When the temperatures are most extreme, runners have to brave 120-degree conditions. The first Badwater was officially completed (on the run) by Al Arnold in 1977. In 1987 it became an official footrace.

For More: Fresno Bee